July Malheur Musings

IN A LANDSCAPE: Classical Music in the Wild™ came to Malheur NWR on Sunday June 16th in our ongoing effort to celebrate The Friends of Malheur's 25th Anniversary! A whopping 135 tickets sold with 47 of them being local Harney County residents! This event is an outdoor concert series where America’s most stunning landscapes replace the traditional concert hall. Guests explore the surrounding environment while listening to the music through wireless headphones, creating an immersive experience that fosters a connection with the music, nature, and with one another. inalandscape.org

Greetings Janelle,

There is a unique sort of calm that settles over the region as summer arrives. Yes, it's hot. Yes, it's buggy. But the success of a bustling spring is showing itself in the fledgling broods all around. Young coyotes and badgers figuring out how to do what they do. Comically awkward young owls are discovered in a new perch every morning. Freshly hatched hummingbirds and warblers are still being tended in the nest. I love the onset of summer.

Usually, summer also means that human activity is slowing down but we had quite the bustling month of June! Our annual Migrate event with FREE Friends & Community picnic was well attended. We were excited to have the support of local partners such as High Desert Partnership and Harney County Library who contributed raffle prizes. Lunch was supported by Doverspike Beef, Schatz Creations, and Grocery Outlet. Events like this are such a wonderful reminder how great it is to live in a supportive community.

The highlight of the month had to be June 16th's TRACK Trail ribbon cutting and IN A LANDSCAPE concert. The National Wildlife Refuge System's mascot, Puddles flew in for the festivities! The new TRACK Trail features 4 special activity brochures for youth and families while adding Malheur NWR to a nationwide network of similar trails!

The concert was nothing short of incredible. It was a perfect afternoon to enjoy classical music in the wild! BONUS - Pianist Hunter Nock himself interviewed me for his podcast and that is set to be published in September. Stay Tuned!

There are so many ways to join us in commemorating this Silver Anniversary!

SAVE THE DATE for A Birthday Bash

Celebrating a Shared Legacy of Stewardship

FOMR turning 25 and Founding Member Alice Elshoff turning 90!

Saturday October 5th | Bend, OR

Details coming soon.

Send a Birthday Card!

Who doesn't love getting a Birthday card in the mail?

It's our 25th Birthday, so if you feel inclined to include a $25 donation,

we will add you to the growing list of Birthday Donors!

All cards are being hung in the Crane's Nest Lobby.

In Service to and Celebration of Malheur,

Janelle Wicks

Executive Director

Conservation Corner

Grant Awarded for DarkSky Lighting Compliance ProjectPhoto of Milky Way over the Blitzen River at Refuge Headquarters by Peter Pearsall

We are thrilled to announce that we are the 2024 recipients of the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s (NWRA) prestigious O’Brian Prize. This award is distributed annually to one or more Refuge Friends Groups to fund a well-deserving Refuge Friends group. The group’s project proposal must aim to bring an enduring value to the Friends Group and bring benefit to the Refuge in addition to heightening public awareness to help build their connection with their community. 

The Friends of Malheur NWR submitted an application for funding of our DarkSky Lighting Compliance Project and are being awarded as the sole recipient of 2024 allocation of $6,000. What is our DarkSky Lighting Compliance Project? I’m so glad you asked!

Check out the NWRA’s BLOG post about our project!

Wetlands Collaborative Receives Funding to Help Fight Invasive Carp and Improve Habitat

Written by Lauren Brown, High Desert Partnership

Photo of Blitzen River by Alan Nyiri

The Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative (HBWC), a collaborative of the High Desert Partnership, was awarded a six year grant for more than $8 million from the Oregon Water Enhancement Board (OWEB) Focused Investment Partnership program. Funding for these grants comes from the Oregon Lottery and Federal Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery funds provided by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. 

“This funding is imperative for HBWC. It will help with restoration efforts to meet the needs of ranchers, migratory birds and other species that rely on the Harney Basin wetlands for their survival,” said Melissa Petschauer, Harney Basin Ecological Coordinator. Read More

American Avocets as Terminal Lake Habitat Indicators

Written by Cory Overton and Mike Casazza, USGS

Photo of Am. Avocet by Dan Streiffert

The 2023 Saline Lakes IWAA Bird Movement marking season has been successfully completed, with 60 newly marked avocets joining ten individuals who have returned from last year’s marking of 40 individuals. Since mid-May, we have deployed 20 transmitters in each of the three locations: the Lahontan Valley, Lake Abert/Summer Lake, and Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Read More

Steens Mountain Pollinator Project

Written by Lauren Gramberg, OSU Masters Student

Picture of Argynnis species - Frittilary butterfly

This summer, a new pollinator project hit the ground running in the Steens Mountain region, led by Dr. Jim Rivers and Dr. Jonathan Dinkins of Oregon State University. The project is funded by USFW; masters student, Lauren Gramberg and her crew are currently conducting research in the south Steens region.

This project assesses how wildfire and invasive annual grasses – two contemporary threats to the sagebrush biome – influence native bees, a keystone group that is declining globally. Read More

Follow That Swan!

Update by Gary Ivey, PhD.

Here’s a July 2024 update on the latest locations of seven Trumpeter Swans marked on Malheur Refuge’s Benson Pond in February 2023 with GPS-GSM neck collars to track their migration. Only 1 collar (@10) has sent us data this month. This female remains on a small wetland, just NE of Chaten, Alberta where she is probably now raising her brood. This is the same wetland where she summered last year (she is home!).

Some of the collars may have expired, and this may be the last of their data that we receive.

Emilee's July Update

As June comes to an end, writing this blog has been a great opportunity to think back on all the experiences I have had the chance to be involved with this past month. With the Friends group, the month started out with the Migrate through Malheur event, which was a really fun chance to be connected with the public and be involved in their exploration of the refuge. This month we also hosted the In a Landscape concert held at the refuge, a very unique event that provided a chance to see the refuge in a new way. Both of these events were very fun ways to be involved with the community, while also raising awareness of Malheur!

I also had the chance to assist Dominic, Alexa, and Teresa with the Summer of Science program at the Harney County Library’s Summer Reading Program. My station focused on educating about pollinators. This was a great event, and I loved having the chance to work with kids from the local area. Read More

Malheur Lake Update

Wildlife Biologist, Alexa Martinez, who provides these updates is on Annual Leave. If you enjoy these please be sure to check the August issue!

Species Spotlight: Gadwall

Written by Peter Pearsall

Photo by Dan Streiffert

The gadwall (Mareca strepera) is a medium-sized dabbling duck of shallow freshwater wetlands, marshes, ponds, and lakes with abundant aquatic vegetation. Widespread across North America, Europe, and Asia, the gadwall’s North American breeding range spans the northern Great Plains, the Prairie Pothole Region, and parts of the western United States. 

The breeding male is an intricately patterned grey, with a black rear end, light chestnut wings, and a brilliant white speculum (the wing patch visible in flight and at rest). Females, or hens, are mottled brown, resembling female mallards but with a thinner, orange-edged bill. Read More

From the field...

I was driving along the auto-tour road and stopped for a bunch of quail in the road. I watched them for a minute and this coyote came out from the bush on the right. He stopped up the road a bit and gave me a dirty look. He then dropped a turd just to tell me what he thought of me for interrupting his lunch. The quail seemed happy and moved off the road and I went on my way. ~ Gene Newell, Photographer (More HERE)

Volunteering with Friends

Stewardship Volunteering in 2024

AUGUST 9th - 11th: Historic Sod House Ranch Stewardship

Help clean the grounds and set up this historic site for its annual public open season from August 15 - October 1.

SEPTEMBER 13th - 15th: Trail Stewardship

Assisting with the connection of the River Trail and the Restoration Trail for the improvement of the Blitzen River Trail from P Ranch north.

OCTOBER 18th - 20th: Work for the Wild

P Ranch and Barnes Springs Homestead clean-up and barbed wire removal.

Housing will be provided for FREE to volunteers at The Malheur Field Station or P Ranch.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for one or more of these Stewardship Weekends please email friends@malheurfriends.org

We are embarking on a mission to capture information about what species and approximately how many bats are roosting within the buildings at Refuge Headquarters. Will you join us in conducting initial surveys? Equipment and guidance will be provided. Tent camping at Refuge HQ available. email friends@malheurfriends.org if interested.

Volunteer Reflection: June - A time for watching babies

Written by Wren Hudgins, FOMR Volunteer

Photo of fledgling great-horned owls by Dan Streiffert

When I go birding, I’m usually passing through places. I’m here one day but then moving on the next. To be sure, there are advantages to this, such as everything is novel, you can experience perhaps a wider variety of habitats and maybe boost your chances of seeing more bird species. But a disadvantage is that you have no sense of the passage of time.

So, my wife and I decided to volunteer for all of June 2024 in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The generous volunteer work schedule allowed us plenty of time to explore the region but it also allowed us to experience the same places over a month of time. Within 100 yards of the Crane’s Nature Center and Shop, where we worked, there were 5 species of birds with moms either sitting on eggs or feeding hatchlings. Read More w/ June Bird List!

Outreach & Events

Be sure to check out the incredible opportunities below and see our website's event calendar for more. Click on the images below to learn more about these programs and sign-up!

Upcoming Presentations

Click on each program below to sign up on Zoom or mark your calendars and plan to join us in person at the Harney County Community Room at 484 N Broadway Ave, Burns OR.

July 11th: Land, Water, and Air; Working at the intersection for birds

Dr Teresa 'Bird' Wicks, Bird Alliance of Oregon Eastern Oregon Biologist

August 1st: My Summer at Malheur NWR

Emilee Gooch, FOMR Wildlife Technician

Watch this space, there is more to come!

View presentation videos on FOMR's YouTube Channel
For more Events and Programs Visit FOMR's Calendar

While FOMR celebrates 25 years one of our Founding Members, Alice, is celebrating 90!

Our Fall Fundraising Event will be a Birthday Party to celebrate a shared legacy of conservation stewardship!

Do you live in Central Oregon?

LOVE Malheur Refuge? and EVENT PLANNING?

Yes? Yes? Yes?!? - We NEED You!

If you are interested in helping us plan the official celebration of FOMR's 25th Birthday please email Janelle, friends@malheurfriends.org

June's Most Popular

Every month there is excellent content on the Friends Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Here we will feature the most popular post of the month.

June 17th, 2024 - This was not June's most popular but truthfully just one of my favorite things that happened this past month.

Posted: "Friends, Please help us find C & J so we can return their MNWR adventure log to them!

UPDATE: Thanks to Jennifer Wicklund we have been able to get this pamphlet into the mail to Medford where it will be reunited with its owner!"

When cleaning up after the IN A LANDSCAPE concert Bird Wicks and I (Janelle) found this on a bench at the Refuge Visitor Center. The 'J' was in fact a T and it was the owner's daughter who saw our post on Facebook and identified it as her father and late mother's pamphlet! It filled me with pure joy to stick this in an envelope and send it home to him.

Follow the Friends of Malheur on Facebook and Instagram at Malheurfriends!

Membership Minute
The sustaining support of our members is more important than ever.
If you are unsure of your Membership status you can email us at friends@malheurfriends.org today!

Current Membership Total: 1202

2024 New Members: 359!

Not a Member or need to RENEW?

Simply visit OUR WEBSITE!

Prefer to send a check? Easy.

Fill out THIS FORM and mail it with your dues to:

Friends of Malheur NWR

36391 Sodhouse Lane

Princeton, OR 97721

Your Business can support Malheur NWR by joining our Business Alliance Program!

Questions? Email us. Friends@malheurfriends.org

Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM | 7 Days/Week

Suns Out - Lobes Out! or something like that...

Jabebo's earrings are a fan favorite here in the Crane's Nest. Handmade from recycled cereal boxes they are light AND delightful! We have 32 species available through out online store so there's something for everyone. Click on More Images to see them all - Order online today!

The store has all your old favorites and a SLEW of new inventory. When you find yourself at Refuge Headquarters please stop in to check it out, say Hi to our Volunteers, and meet our Manager, Jill!

Shop Crane's Nest Online

Malheur HQ Visitor Center

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM | As Possible with Volunteer Support

The Refuge is in need of Volunteer Support in the Visitor Center. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Carey_Goss@fws.gov.

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Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge



36391 Sodhouse Lane

Princeton, OR 97721 


Tax ID #: 93-1261322


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